• Switzerland edition
 
VIPs line up in jets and limousines for Art Basel
Visitors view artwork by Adriana Vareniao at Art Basel. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

VIPs line up in jets and limousines for Art Basel

Published: 13 Jun 2013 11:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jun 2013 11:55 GMT+02:00

The 44th edition of the show opened to the public on Thursday, but the doors were nudged open earlier on Tuesday for special VIPs wanting an advance peek at the wide range of artwork displayed across a whopping 31,000 square metres (334,000 square feet) of exhibition space.
   
On Wednesday, an estimated 110 private jets landed and took off from the Basel-Mulhouse airport, after 83 flew through there on Tuesday despite a strike that reduced the airport's capacity and forced some wealthy patrons of the arts to change their travel plans.
   
It was important to be among the first to squeeze through the doors, Annka 
Kultys, a Swiss art collector based in London, told AFP.
 
"The rule in Basel is that you cannot put (artwork) on hold before the art 
fair, so we need to be here the first day, and just run to the booths that we are interested in," she said.
 
"I know exactly where I want to go when I come here, which gallery I want 
to see, which artist," she added.
   
Some 65,000 visitors are expected to come to Art Basel this year to see exhibits by a lucky 304 galleries, picked from more than 1,000 that vied for a spot at the lucrative fair.

"There's been a buzz immediately," Tim Marlow, director of exhibitions at the London-based White Cube Gallery told AFP, just a few hours after the buying frenzy began.
   
"We've sold two Sergei Jensen paintings, a Tracey Emin, we sold this Mark 
Bradford work for $725,000," he said, pointing to the large abstract canvas behind him.
   
"And there is serious interest in the Damien Hirst pill cabinet, at four 
million pounds," he added with a broad smile, nodding to a large mirror wall lined with tightly spaced, narrow metal shelves covered with pills in different colours and shapes.
   
Art Basel's impact on a gallery's bottom line does not stop with what is 
sold at the fair, he said.
   
"It's about connections made and clients made, and museums.

"A lot of 
museums come . . . and then conversations are hatched, work is bought . . . exhibitions are planned."
 
The art world appears to have bucked the global economic crisis, with 
income from global auction sales more than doubling since it hit bottom in 2009, passing eight billion euros last year, according to French specialised website Artprice.com.
   
"I think the art market is actually in a very strong position," Art Basel 
director Marc Spiegler told AFP.
   
Case in point: a few hours after the opening 
Tuesday he said he was noticing "a lot of frustration among collectors because the things that they want to buy are already sold."

 'From five percent of world's rich to 40 percent' 

Amid all the stock market turmoil in recent years, the world's wealthy are increasingly turning to art as a good and safe investment, experts say.
 
"I reckon that in the next 10 years we'll see the market going from about 
five percent of the world's rich having art to around 40 percent," said Philip Hoffman, the head of the Fine Art Fund Group, which advises wealthy clients on what pieces to add to their collections.
   
But Art Basel is not only about investment; it is also about the enjoyment 
of seeing a wide range of work by the great artists of the 20th century, such as Picasso, Kandinsky and Warhol, mixed in with the cutting edge of today, Spiegler said.
 
For those more interested in looking than buying, a whole hall has been 
reserved for the "Unlimited" collection of large and sometimes astonishing works that are not for sale at the fair.
   
Unlike in the crowded section next door, there is plenty of space to stroll 
through the 11,500-square-metre exhibit, admiring works by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, British sculptor Antony Gormley, or Japanese Chiharu Shiota, who has covered chairs and a grand piano in a massive web of black string.
   
There are also less well-known artists on display, like Chinese He An.

   
"This is my first time here," he says through a translator, as he shields 
his eyes to gaze through his piece, "Hubble", a massive metal tube made from billboards with the powerful light usually used in advertising shooting out at the observer "as if from a cannon."
   
Swiss art collector Marco Stoffel, who has been coming to Art Basel for the 
past 20 years, says he likes starting in the Unlimited section before heading to the buying frenzy next door.
   
"I start here, where I can remain calm, and then, afterwards, it's off to 
the circus," he told AFP.

Nina Larson/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Glacier 3000 opens new mountaintop bridge
The new bridge connects Glacier 3000 with Scex Rouge. Photo: Peak Walk by Tissot

Glacier 3000 opens new mountaintop bridge

The new ‘Peak Walk’ at Glacier 3000, the world’s first suspension bridge to connect two mountain peaks, was inaugurated on Friday. READ  

Snake smugglers caught by Swiss border guards
Two boa constrictors were found in Basel. Photo: Anup Shah

Snake smugglers caught by Swiss border guards

Swiss border guards discovered four snakes during the course of two separate controls this week, federal customs authorities said on Friday. READ  

Report: Switzerland ideal for Mars simulator
UNIL's report said Switzerland would be ideal for a Mars project. Photo: UNIL

Report: Switzerland ideal for Mars simulator

Switzerland could play a vital part in the mission to Mars, according to a report by the University of Lausanne (UNIL) which concludes that Romandie is the perfect place to test conditions faced by humans in a journey to the red planet. READ  

Basel private bank raided in German tax probe
Safra Sarasin is based in Basel. Photo: Michelle Kinsey Bruns

Basel private bank raided in German tax probe

Police in Switzerland have raided the offices of the private bank Safra Sarasin as part of a probe by German authorities into alleged tax fraud, Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported on Friday. READ  

Swiss banker arrested over Hoeness tax fraud
Hoeness was jailed for tax evasion to the tune of 28.5 million euros. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Pool/AFP

Swiss banker arrested over Hoeness tax fraud

Polish authorities said Thursday they had arrested a Swiss banker wanted by Germany on suspicion of tax fraud that a report said may involve the jailed former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness. READ  

Federer reaches quarters in hometown event
Federer celebrates another win in Basel. Photo: AFP/Fabrice Coffini

Federer reaches quarters in hometown event

Roger Federer shrugged off dropping the first set against journeyman Denis Istomin on Thursday before hitting back to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and reach the Swiss Indoors quarterfinals. READ  

Hitler coffee cream pot company faces closure
Hitler and Mussolini featured on the creamer lids. Photo: SRF

Hitler coffee cream pot company faces closure

The company that designed the coffee cream pot lids featuring images of Hitler and Mussolini is facing bankruptcy after Swiss supermarket chain Migros said it planned to terminate its contract with the Bern-based outfit. READ  

Body of Czech climber found after 40 years
The body was found near Mount Titlis. Photo: Caroline Bishop/The Local

Body of Czech climber found after 40 years

The body of a Czech hiker who disappeared 40 years ago after an avalanche in Switzerland has been found on a glacier in the Bernese alps, Bern cantonal police reported on Thursday. READ  

Doctor: Schumacher needs 'years to recover'
Schumacher suffered severe head injuries in a ski accident in December. Photo: AFP

Doctor: Schumacher needs 'years to recover'

A French doctor treating stricken former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher said on Thursday that the German ace was making progress, but will need years to recover. READ  

Roche reveals towering plans for Basel site
Roche's development will include the highest building in the country. Photo: Roche

Roche reveals towering plans for Basel site

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is to invest three billion francs ($3.14 billion) in its Basel headquarters over the course of the next ten years in a massive redevelopment project which includes the construction of the tallest building in Switzerland. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Majority of Swiss back proposed new immigration curbs: poll
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
National
Sputtering eurozone drags down Swiss economic growth forecast
Features
Swiss-based English expat writer lauds immigrant 'brains and brawn'
International
Our survey: Switzerland third priciest for food and drink from back home
National
Zurich market gardener sets world 'record' for heaviest pumpkin
National
Report: Switzerland's residents richer than before economic crash
Features
Geneva lab sleuths use high tech to help art world uncover fakes
National
Father of Scot missing since early September fears Swiss trauma
National
Foreign women give birth to rising share of newborns: latest figures
National
'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel uni botanical garden bigger than ever
National
Switzerland's voters reject public health insurance proposal
National
Zooming foreign immigration continues to boost Swiss population
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Geneva MP seeks ban on charging for tap water in restaurants
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,241
jobs available